Is there anything else to do when visiting Orlando besides the theme parks?

What else is there to do in the Orlando area besides visit Disney World, Universal Studios and Lego Land?  Plenty!

One of our favorites spots to send people who are renting one of our Disney area vacation homes is an airboat ride to see alligators.  We always send them to Midway, which is about midway 🙂 between Orlando and Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral (two other great places to visit after your airboat ride).


We like Midway because you are really are out in “wild” Florida, and nothing is scripted.  Its just a fun ride through the central Florida waterways (mostly the St. Johns river).

If you are brave enough, you can hold a baby alligator before or after your airboat ride!  Either way, you will be treated to a fun ride and be able to view LOTS of large alligators sunning themselves on the banks of the river or in high spots on the marshes.

So pack the sunscreen and a good camera and head out for a morning or afternoon of fun!  Be sure and call ahead to make reservations to avoid any wait times, but if you are curious you can always stop in on your way to or from Cocoa or Cape Canaveral.

Have fun!


How far away are the Florida beaches from my Disney area vacation rental home?

Good question!  The drive usually takes  an hour or so if you are going to the East coast, and an hour and a half if you are going to the West coast.

So how to decide on which coast to visit?

The East coast has the famous Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral.  And don’t forget Ron Jon surf shop!  The East coast also has waves for surfers, especially in the winter time or when a storm is coming in.  There are great beaches both above and below Cocoa  – the whole coast, in fact!

The West coast is calm but the beaches are a little spread out and so harder to find.  In fact, the coastline gets marshy just above the Tampa area.  The West coast offers some more attractions like Busch Gardens, and of course you may want to visit the lovely downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Clearwater Beach west of Tampa proper is known for its large expanses of white sand, but it can take a bit of time to get from Tampa to Clearwater, so plan for some extra traffic to deal with.  We highly recommend Fort Desoto (south of Clearwater) for its quiet beaches and history lesson all in one!  In fact this picture on our website home page was taken by me at Fort Desoto!

No matter which coast you hit from your Disney area vacation rental home, be sure and pack the sunscreen and prepare to have a great time!

What do I need to bring with me when staying in vacation rentals in the Orlando Florida area?

We get asked this a lot!  So much so that we added this to our FAQ.  The simple answer is to think of Orlando vacation rental homes like a hotel.  And, legally, it is a hotel registered with the state of Florida!
So, no need to bring linens, towels, pillows, etc.  But, unlike a hotel, vacation rentals in the Orlando Florida area come with a fully stocked kitchen!

Orlando vacation rental home kitchen

Fully stocked kitchen!

We have found, however, that unlike staying at a friend’s home, the tradition of vacation rentals in the Orlando Florida area is to leave the home free of excess soap, toilet paper, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, etc., so you may need to buy these items on your first grocery shopping trip.  We are trying to change this tradition, at least for our American guests who seem to expect some of this left behind by the previous guest, but we risk annoying our European guests who have been renting homes for a much longer time and are used to a more “sterile” environment upon their arrival.
So, leave your sheets, towels and pillow behind when heading to vacation rentals in the Orlando Florida area, but bring your bathing suit and your sense of adventure!  We have lots of fun waiting for you!


Beware of Florida Alligators!

Mention the word alligator and many people become frozen in fear!  Unlike its cousin the crocodile, however, there is really no reason to be afraid of alligators.  They usually only feed at night, are by nature afraid of humans and only eat small critters that wander too close to them!  A few of our communities are near small lakes that should have alligators in them.  If you can find them, they are not one of the shy ones, meaning they may have been fed by humans, thereby associating humans with food.  This is of course a bad idea, and you want to stay away from any alligator who seems to have an interest in you!  Especially the ones that are your size or larger!

Other stuff to do in Orlando?

When most tourists think of Orlando, they think of sun and fun and the amusement parks – rightly so!  But did you know we also have plenty of other great things to do, both indoors and out?  We have beaches only an hour away, of course, plus museums, hang gliding, indoor and outdoor parachuting, river tubing, echo tourism, zip lines, ATV riding, nature walks, boutique shopping, wineries, breweries – the list is endless! You can get some more ideas here…